In the 2020 election, the majority of Muslims in the United States voted for Joe Biden. Yet Donald Trump, who as president had instituted the so-called Muslim ban, actually saw his support increase from 2016 among that voter bloc.
A year out from the 2024 presidential election, it remains wholly unclear which candidate American Muslims might rally behind, especially since Biden has vowed to provide unwavering support for Israel.
Biden is beginning to lose support in swing-state Muslim-American and Arab-American communities.
That fact was evident on Wednesday when Biden was met with protests organized by local Muslim leaders during a visit to Minneapolis. It was the latest sign that Muslim Americans could be turning against Biden, despite their strong support for him three years ago.
CAIR Calls for Muslims to “Abandon Biden”
The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the country’s largest Muslim advocacy group, organized three separate protests at locations Biden visited Wednesday, NBC News first reported. The locations included the airport, a farm in rural Northfield, and downtown Minneapolis.
CAIR, which is pushing for a cease-fire in Gaza, has called on Biden to rein in Israel and to do more to combat Islamophobia at home.
“We are going to abandon Biden because he has abandoned us,” Jaylani Hussein, the executive director of CAIR Minnesota, told NBC News just hours after he stood next to “Abandon Biden” signs at a news conference on Wednesday. “I don’t think that this is a rash emotional decision by the American Muslim community. It is a foregone conclusion.
“The anger is not going to go away. We don’t have a short memory. I still have not heard from any Muslim leader in Minnesota who has said this is a mistake.”
Small But Critical Voting Bloc
Muslims make up a tiny slice of the U.S. population — only about half the number of American Jews — but Muslim Americans also happen to form a significant contingent of voters in several battleground states. Though it isn’t all that likely they will cast their ballots for Trump, their failure to support Biden could cost him dearly in next year’s election.
Biden won several states, including Arizona and Georgia, by razor-thin numbers in 2020. So losing any votes could swing the election in Trump’s favor in a likely rematch next year.
What might further hinder Biden’s re-election bid is that a handful of Democrats have openly criticized the president over his support for Israel in its war in Gaza. That has included Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
“President Biden has not expressed one bit of empathy for the millions of Palestinian civilians facing brutal airstrikes and the threat of a ground invasion of Gaza that would intensify this humanitarian crisis,” Tlaib said in a statement last month.
How Has the White House Responded?
Though Biden didn’t meet with Muslim leaders, the White House did announce on Wednesday that it would launch the U.S. National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia, a first-ever joint effort of the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council. It will reportedly work with community leaders, advocates, and lawmakers to develop a comprehensive plan that aims to combat Islamophobia.
“For too long, Muslims in America and those perceived to be Muslim, such as Arabs and Sikhs, have endured a disproportionate number of hate-fueled attacks and other discriminatory incidents,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday.
While the war in Gaza may be long resolved by next year, it is likely many Muslims will remember that the president vowed to stand with Israel, and they may not stand by Biden.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.
From the Vault